Arizona health officials are working with federal and local partners to investigate a large number of cases of Salmonella Poona infections in multiple counties that appear to be linked to eating garden variety cucumbers grown outside of the United States. As of September 17, 2015, 85 cases have been identified in Arizona within six counties. One person in Pima County has died.
Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego, CA initiated a voluntary recall of all cucumbers sold under the Limited Edition label during the period from August 1, 2015 through September 3, 2015 because they may be contaminated with Salmonella. People who bought these cucumbers should throw them away and consumers with questions may visit the A&W website at andrew-williamson.com. Other cucumber suppliers are currently under investigation. No cucumbers from Arizona or the U.S. have been implicated in this outbreak.
Andrew & Williamson has been identified as one distributor of the garden variety cucumbers associated with this outbreak. You can find the most current information on the statewide outbreak on the Arizona Department of Health Services website at www.azdhs.gov.
The majority of people in Arizona who are sick with this strain of Salmonella have eaten garden variety cucumbers grown outside of Arizona. Garden variety cucumbers are the average size green cucumbers with thick skin, seeded, and not wrapped in plastic. It is important to note that English (long plastic wrapped cucumbers with ridges running lengthwise) or Persian (small, thin-skinned, seedless) varieties of cucumbers have not been implicated in this outbreak. These cucumbers appear to be safe to eat based on the information we have.
Although Salmonella is one of the most frequently reported causes of foodborne outbreaks of gastroenteritis worldwide, this particular strain of Salmonella, Salmonella Poona, is relatively rare to cause foodborne illness. It causes the same illnesses, typically diarrhea, as other subtypes of Salmonella. It can cause serious and rarely fatal infections in some people, such as infants, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems and/or severe chronic health conditions.